ICC Ratified by 66 Countries, Will Begin Operation in July
Ten nations ratified the International Criminal Court (ICC) today bringing the total number of nations to ratify the 1998 Rome treaty to 66, meaning that the ICC will finally enter into force this July. The ICC will operate across from the International Criminal Tribunal until it can move into its permanent home in the Hague, Netherlands in 2007. The ICC is a permanent court designed to prosecute war criminals, genocide, and crimes against humanity. Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the ICC also presents clear language defining gender crimes to include rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity. “A page in the history of humankind is being turned,” said United Nations Chief Legal Counsel Hans Corell.
The United States is one of the few Western countries not to ratify the ICC. The Bush Administration is even considering “unsigning” the treaty. "Unsigning" the ICC treaty would be a formal indication that the U.S. has no intention of ever ratifying the treaty and wishes to be released from its obligations. British Foreign Minister Jack Straw has reportedly warned Secretary of State Colin Powell that attacking the ICC will provoke a clash with European allies. According to the UN Under-Secretary for Legal Affairs no country has ever left a UN treaty unsigned.
The ten countries to ratify the ICC today were: Bosnia, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Congo, Ireland, Jordan, Mongolia, Niger, Romania, and Slovakia.
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .